Meet ASIYA Athlete: Zaakyaa Y.

Zaakyaa is a multi-sport athlete, and at the age of 15, has received more honors than many athletes do in a lifetime.

She has been studying martial arts since 3 years old, and became a black belt by age 11.  She was a National Champion in Martial Arts in 2013 and 2015.

At 11, she started track and basketball, quickly becoming a top competitor in both. 

Last year, she was selected for the 2017 NYC Middle School Basketball All-Star Game and named a Elite Middle School All-American.

In track, she finished 1st in the NYC Middle School Track and Field Championship in the 400 meters. And during her first year of high school Cross Country competition, she placed in the Top 10 in her league.

"I love the rush of competing against the best and traveling around the country to compete. And I love the feeling of working hard to achieve a win."

Not only is she a hardworking athlete, but she is proud to stay true to her faith.

"I feel blessed to be a young muslimah athlete without compromising my religion  for any sport. I actually love being the only one whose head is covered, so people ask me questions about my religion."

But it hasn't been without it's challenges. "One of the top high school basketball programs in America wanted me to play, but said I would have to remove my Hijab. I told them no, I will not allow anyone to tell me what I can or cannot do because of my Hijab."

What's next for Zaakyaa?  She is getting ready for her sophomore high school basketball and track season and planning on trying out for the 16 and 17U Girls Basketball Team and being the first Muslimah to make the team!

Who has been her favorite coach? "My Abu is always telling me to never change for anyone and love yourself. Because of his motivation and starting me in sports very young, he's my favorite coach."

And in the world of basketball, she admires two elite Muslim basketball players who have been trailblazers.  "I admire my sister, Batouly Camara, who plays for the 10 time national champions Uconn, and my sister, Bilqis Abdul Qaadir.  Both have done alot in the community and mentor many young woman like myself by being proud to be a muslimah and an athlete."

You're a rockstar, Zaakyaa! We're cheering for you and excited to have you on our team of ASIYA Athletes!